There have been times when I have ordered French onion soup and then, when it was set before me, wondered if I shouldn’t have chosen alphabet soup instead; its crusty cheese top looked like a table manners nightmare!
Of course, the cheese and underlying bread are part of the deliciousness and we just need to be brave, deal with it, and get on with the enjoyment. So, taking spoon in hand, we first take a bit of cheese onto it and twirl it around the spoon until we have formed a small ball. While supporting the bowl with our free hand, we press the edge of the spoon against the edge of the bowl and try to cut the ball from the trailing strand of cheese. If the cheese fails to understand its part in this, we may threaten it with a knife and fork.
Sometimes after we think we have successfully severed the cheese, it will still form strands and make a bridge to the spoon as we lift it to our expectant mouths. This is to show dominance, but we must not let it bother us. We must simply bite it off, realize we have done our very best, and then politely look away from our dinner companions who, also struggling with the soup, may be wishing they had ordered the clams.
While on the subject of soup, let me add that the soup spoon should never rest in the bowl. Whether you are just taking a breather, or have finished eating, the spoon should be placed on the side of the plate under the bowl.
Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite….LLC. You are invited to e-mail your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website at becauseyouarepolite.com. RSVP!